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Babies at Risk | Spokane, WA
Babies at Risk

  • There is a high rate of non-medically indicated early deliveries, resulting in a higher risk of disease, complications and death.  Experts believe early births should be limited to those with a medical complication. 

  • A warning for all women of childbearing age.  The CDC states that women ages 15-44 should avoid alcohol unless they are using birth control. Alcohol can harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant.  The CDC estimates more than 3 million women are at risk of exposing a developing fetus to alcohol. This warning is to reduce the cases of fetal alcohol syndrome.    (CBS Morning News, USA Today, February 3, 2016)

  • "No Alcohol during Pregnancy -- Ever -- Plead U.S. Pediatricians."  In an effort to once and for all put a rest to any debate about drinking during pregnancy, the American Academy of Pediatrics has put out a clear message: Don't do it. Ever. At all. Not even a tiny bit.


    No amount of alcohol should be considered safe to drink during any trimester of pregnancy," the group wrote.  Prenatal exposure to alcohol is the leading preventable cause of birth defects, as well as cognitive problems later in life.  The risk of having a baby with growth retardation goes up even when a woman has just one alcoholic drink a day.

    Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk the baby could have myriad problems, including trouble with hearing and vision, and with the heart, bones and kidneys. Children of mothers who drank while pregnant were also more likely to have neurodevelopment issues such as troubles with abstract reasoning, information processing, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

    Women who drank in their first trimester were 12 times more likely to have a child with these issues, compared to women who didn't drink at all. First- and second-trimester drinking increased the risk 61 times, and women who drank during all trimesters increased the risk by a factor of 65.


"There is no safe amount, no safe time, and no safe type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. It's just not worth the risk," said Dr. Cheryl Tan, an epidemiologist at the CDC. an conducted a study showing that during 2011-2013, one in 10 pregnant women reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days and one in 33 reported binge drinking.

    "The research suggests that the smartest choice for women who are pregnant is to just abstain from alcohol completely," said Dr. Janet F. Williams, one of the leading authors of the report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  (Source: "No alcohol during pregnancy - ever - plead U.S. pediatricians," by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent, CNN, October 21, 2015; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • Baby Teethers Warning.  In a new study just released, researchers tested 59 plastic baby teethers from 23 different brands which were solid, gel and water-filled.  They analyzed them for 26 chemicals and found all of them had low levels of potentially harmful substances that leaked out of the teethers, including BPA.  For example, they all had the chemical BPA, even when labeled "BPA-free" and "non-toxic." BPA has been banned from bottles and sippy cups, but not teethers.  The concern with a lot of these chemicals is that they are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, meaning they mimic or disrupt the naturally occurring hormones in the body, like estrogen and thyroid hormones.  So, the concern is that teethers may contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals which cause neurologic developmental and reproductive abnormalities in growing infants.  Dr. Tara Narula said bottles and sippy cups should probably be retested for these chemicals. 

    Experts suggest that parents avoid these teethers and use homeopathic or home-grown remedies such as a frozen washcloth, a frozen carrot, a frozen bagel, or a frozen waffle (while watching for choking risks).  There are some teethers made of wood or organic cotton that can safely be used as well. 

    Most pacifiers are made of silicone, which is not a concern with a lot of these chemicals; but some do have plastic casings that may contain harmful chemicals.  (source:  "Study finds baby teethers may release harmful chemicals," Dr. Tara Narula, CBS This Morning, Dec. 7, 2016; Environmental Science and Technology)

  • Babies born in early term at 37-38 weeks have a higher risk of disease, complications, and death.   (Edward McCabe, M.D., Medical Director, March of Dimes, April 2013)

  • The U.S. has the highest rate of preterm birth of any industrialized country.  (March of Dimes President Jennifer Howse, November 2013) 

  • There are 300,000 to 350,000 babies born every month in the U.S.  ("Zika in America," Dr. David Agus, CBS This Morning, March 31, 2016)

  • Life expectancy at birth remained stable from 2009 to 2013. Life expectancy in 2013 was 79 years overall, but was significantly lower among males. Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics have a longer life expectancy when compared to whites.

    The death rate in Spokane County was 846 per 100,000 in 2013. The county rate was significantly higher than Washington state (742 per 100,000) and significantly increased from 2009 to 2013. The death rate varied by age and was higher among whites. The infant mortality rate was 5 per 1,000 live births in Spokane County in 2013, which was similar to Washington state. From 2009 to 2013, the infant mortality rate remained stable and infant mortality was more likely among infants with mothers who were non-white, had less than a high school education, and were on Medicaid.  (Spokane Counts 2015 report, Spokane Regional Health District)
What You Can Do
  • Early births should be limited to those with a medical complication.   Women should wait until at least 39 weeks to deliver, instead of scheduling an early induction or C-section.  (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, KHQ-News, April 13, 2013) 

  • Learn how to calm a crying baby.  (click here)
Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Forget Me Not Program
101 W 8th Ave. Spokane
Sacred Heart Hospital   (509) 474-4059
Compassionate support to grieving families who have  suffered the loss of a baby. 

Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP)

Assist mothers in obtaining alcohol and drug treatment and staying in recovery.
Link mothers and their families to community resources that will help them build and maintain healthy and independent family lives.  Help mothers prevent the births of future alcohol and drug-affected children.